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Felix Salmon imparts a bleak view of journalism's future to hopeful neophytes: "Life is not good for journalists. And while a couple of years ago I harbored hopes that things might improve, those hopes have now pretty much evaporated. Things are not only bad; they’re going to get worse." Ezra Klein rebuts: "The Death of Journalism is really a kind of disruptive change in journalism, and that's bad for incumbents, but you're not an incumbent."

The NASW Education Committee is again sponsoring its annual mentoring program during the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in San Jose, Feb. 12-16. We will pair mentors with students in graduate science writing programs or with undergraduates who have demonstrated a serious interest in science journalism. Use the "read more" link to learn more and apply as either a mentor or a student.

Bethany Brookshire doesn't have much patience with scientists who say they want to be science writers but don't have time to write: "I didn’t have the time either. I MADE the time. I spent a lot of nights short on sleep. I spent a lot of nights NOT out with my friends … I worked some rough hours in the lab, and then I came home and wrote blog posts. I went to full huge days of conferences, out to the parties, and then came back to the hotel room and wrote blog posts."

Poynter's Benjamin Mullin has compiled a list of 37 news organizations that offer internships, ranging in length from a summer to a year, but he warns that delay can be deadly — many of them have deadlines coming right up: "Don’t get left behind. Some of the applications for the most prestigious news organizations are due in a few weeks time, so work up the courage to request that letter of recommendation, update your résumé and figure out how stamps work."

Paige Brown Jarreau discovered she had a "secret weapon" for dealing with her PhD exams — she could write fast, because she blogs: "If I could recommend one study tip for students out there, especially students in journalism and mass communication programs, and particularly graduate students, it would be this: blog. Blog on a weekly basis about your course readings, interesting applications from your classes, or even news items you see related to what you are learning."

Writing on SciLogs, Kirk Englehardt recounts a career change that eventually led him to a research communications job at a major university. Englehardt offers this advice to students — especially those who are pursuing advanced degrees in research but considering a course change into science communications: "Don’t listen to anyone who tells you communication is a 'lesser' career than research. Communication is a science, an important one with real-world impact."

Should experts charge a fee for mentoring beginners? Anna North finds some in writing and other fields who are doing exactly that: "Charging for what might once have been informal counsel is becoming more common — and the growing freelance economy may be behind the shift," North writes. "While those who work in offices may be able to buttonhole their colleagues with questions, people working for themselves may have to seek out friends or acquaintances for help."

Scott Rodd had hopes for a media internship as he neared graduation from Susquehanna University: "At the top of my list were publications like the New Yorker, Time, Esquire, the New York Times, and Harper’s, among others. Harper’s may have been the place I was most interested in." Several months later, he began washing dishes at a French bakery in his hometown. He writes about his experience in Salon, and gets lots of advice (and criticism) in the comments.

Try to write "everything about something." That's Jay Rosen's advice for people just starting out in journalism today. What he means is starting a "niche news service" that provides lots of detail on a subject that a few people care about deeply: "You don't need permission to do it. Initial investment: less than $1000 for design, hosting … Building a niche site is hard work, turning it into a business harder. But it's a plausible route for someone starting from zero."

There are many hopeful contenders for the title of America's Best Journalism School, but the standards for measuring such things are weak at best, Eric Newton writes on the Knight Foundation blog: "The opaque nature of journalism education quality and the lack of general transparency is bad for the next generation of content creators, young people who increasingly struggle to get through college, all too often graduating after six years with a large student loan debt."